What The Public Would Like To Know:
In some communities, people were quite frank about not wanting to know anything about Child Protection Services, because they would never personally need them. Those who wanted to know more indicated the following areas of interest:
· Guidelines for investigating an allegation of abuse or neglect, including the method for determining false vs. true allegations
· What the public should do if they suspect abuse or neglect
· The number of children and families served
· Ratios of caseworkers to families, and assurances that caseworkers are receiving training
· The qualifications for being a caseworker, including training, education, and experience
· The services offered to parents, including the services available to parents who are not abusing their children
· Steps being taken to prevent abuse and neglect
· The capacity of the foster care system
· The availability of adoptive homes
· Results agencies are achieving with the families they serve
· Information about the types of involvement by other child-and-family-serving systems
Most participants had no idea that the court is involved in child protection cases and in removing children from their homes. Further, few participants knew who is responsible for serving children who get into trouble with the law. Additionally, some guessed that the police were involved with the agency in every case and some thought the police should not be involved because they lack training to deal with abuse and neglect.
Federal outcome measures were shared with the participants. They generally felt that they were appropriate but questioned if they measure the quality of services children and families are receiving. When asked if, as taxpayers, people are getting their money’s worth in terms of the job being done in the counties by the agencies, most had no idea, but felt agencies should be held accountable. In some parts of all states, people suggested that they doubted that taxpayers are getting their money’s worth, because with a government agency, you never get your money’s worth.